Michael L. O'Donnell

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Products Liability Attorney in Denver, CO

Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP
 | 370 Seventeenth Street, Suite 4500
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303-244-1850
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2017
Licensed Since: 1980
Practice Areas:
  • Personal Injury - Products: Defense (40%),
  • Class Action/Mass Torts (30%),
  • Professional Liability: Defense (30%)
Attorney Profile

Michael O'Donnell is a founder and the chairman of Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell. His national litigation practice focuses on complex civil litigation involving product liability, professional liability, torts, class actions and mass actions, commercial litigation, and bet-the-company matters. Mike has appeared as lead counsel in state and federal courts in 40 states, and he has served as national and regional counsel for numerous highly visible companies, including General Electric, Fresenius, Advanced Bionics, McKesson, Michelin, Boston Scientific, Guidant, and Pfizer. 

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mike served as the chairman of its Colorado chapter for two consecutive years and currently serves as the Regent for the 10th Circuit. He was also elected a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and to the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mike is a former chairman of The Network of Trial Law Firms, a 7,000-member lawyer organization that offers continuing legal education programs on litigation topics.

Colorado Super Lawyers has ranked Mike the number one lawyer in Colorado for three years in a row (2013-2015) based on a survey of his peers, and he has been named to its top 10 list every year since 2009.Best Lawyers lists Mike in five litigation practice areas and named him "Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year" for 2011 and "Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year" for 2012 and 2013. In 2011, Law Week Colorado selected Mike as one of 10 "Lawyers of the Decade" in Colorado. In a survey conducted by Law Week Colorado in 2010, Mike was selected by his peers as the "Best Trial Lawyer" in Colorado.   

In 2012, Mike was honored with the DU Law Outstanding Alumni Award which is presented each year to one DU Law graduate who has demonstrated professional achievement and humanitarian service to the community. In 2008, he became only the seventh defense lawyer to receive an award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association for the highest standards of competency, ethics, and professionalism. 

 
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About Michael O'Donnell

Admitted: 1980, Colorado

Professional Webpage: http://wtotrial.com/michael-l-odonnell-1

Honors and Awards:

  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Outstanding Alumni Award, 2012
  • Law Week Colorado - "Barrister's Best" Best Overall Litigator, 2015; "People's Choice" Class Action Defense Lawyer, 2014; "Barrister's Best" Best Class Action/Mass Tort Defense Lawyer, 2012; Lawyers of the Decade, 2011; "Barrister's Best" Best Trial Lawyer, 2010, 2011
  • Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, Award for Competency, Ethics, and Professionalism, 2008
  • The American Lawyer, Top Commercial Litigation Lawyers, 2006
  • The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, 2014
  • 5280 Magazine -  2015 Top Lawyer; Personal Injury Defense; Civil Litigation
  • Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers - Regent, 2012-2016; Regent Liaison for ACTL Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice, 2013-2015; Sandra Day O'Connor Award Committee, 2013-2015; Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, 2013-2015; Regent's Nominating Committee, 2014; Special Problems in the Administration of Justice Committee, Vice Chairman, 2011-2012; Adjunct State Committee, 2011-2012; Colorado State Committee, Chairman, 2008-2010; Chairman-Elect, 2007-2008, Vice Chairman, 2006-2007; Code of Conduct Committee, 2007-2008; Complex Litigation Committee 2004-2005
  • Chambers USA - Product Liability - Nationwide, 2015; Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2009-2014
  • Benchmark Litigation - Commercial Litigation - Colorado, 2011-2015; Product Liability - Colorado, 2013-2015; Professional Liability - Colorado, 2013-2015
  • Best Lawyers - Denver Personal Injury Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2015; Denver Product Liability Litigation Lawyer of the Year, 2012-2013; Denver Legal Malpractice Lawyer of the Year, 2011, 2014; Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2005-2016; Commercial Litigation, 2005-2016; Legal Malpractice Law, 2005-2016; Personal Injury Litigation, 2005-2016; Product Liability Litigation, 2005-2016
  • The International Who's Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers, 2011, 2014-2015
  • Best of the Bar, Denver Business Journal
  • Who's Who in Law, Denver Business Journal
  • The Legal 500 United States, Litigation: Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense, 2007, 2009-2011, 2013
  • Fellow of International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • Complex Litigation Committee, Chairman, 2004-2005
  • Code of Conduct Committee, Chairman, 2007-2008
  • Colorado State Committee - Vice Chairman, 2006-2007; Chairman-Elect, 2007-2008; Chairman, 2008-2010
  • Adjunct State Committee, Chairman, 2011-2012
  • IAALS Law Firm Council, Founding member
  • Colorado Judicial Institute - Board of Directors, 2004-present; Judicial Awards Committee, 2006-present
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law; Co-Chair of Reunion Committee, 2004
  • USDC Colorado Committee on Conduct, 2012
  • Defense Research Institute, Member, Professional Liability Committee
  • Judge William E. Doyle American Inn of Court, Master
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • American Bar Association - Chairman, Issues Affecting the Legal Profession; Young Lawyers Section Liaison to Standing Committee on Professional Discipline
  • Colorado Bar Association, Member, Board of Governors
  • Denver Bar Association, Vice President, Board of Trustees
  • The Network of Trial Law Firms, Chairman, 2005-2006
  • Colorado Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member
  • Colorado Defense Lawyers Association
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates, Board of Directors, 2004-2005
  • Denver Law Club
  • International Association of Defense Counsel

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Archdiocese of Denver,  Finance Council, 2008-2013
  • Walking for Kids, Founding Member, Board of Directors, 2009-present
  • American Heart Association of Colorado and Wyoming, Chairman of the Board
  • Trial.com Foundation, Inc., President, 2005-2006
  • The Village Club, President
  • Hundred Club of Denver, Member
  • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver, Board Member, 2010-present
  • Denver Tennis Club, Board of Directors
  • American Heart Association of Colorado, Denver Metro Division, Chairman of the Board
  • The Catholic Foundation, Board of Directors, Advancement Committee, 2004-2005
  • Denver Police Foundation, Board of Directors, 2004-present
  • Founder and President, Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell Foundation, 2005-present

Scholarly Lectures and Writings:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, presented to CNA, March, 2008
  • Selecting Outside Trial Counsel, presented to Association of Corporate Counsel Colorado Chapter, Mar. 21, 2007
  • What In-House Counsel Want and How to Give It to Them, presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms, Apr. 20, 2007
  • Appellate Update on Colorado Law, presented to All Colorado State Court Trial and Appellate Judges, Sept., 2007
  • Selection of Outside Counsel, presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms, Apr. 29, 2006
  • Pharmaceutical Torts Cases in Colorado, presented at Colorado Bar Association and Denver Bar Association CLE Ethical Consideration for Practitioners, Nov. 3, 2005
  • Punitive Damages, presented at 27th Annual Conference of Colorado Defense Lawyers Association, Aug. 20, 2004
  • Course on Professional Responsibility, presented at BAR-BRI (Jan. 21, 1988)
  • Deposition Program, presented at National Institute for Trial Advocacy (Dec. 4, 1991)
  • Discovery Tactics: Drawing the Line Between 'Clever' and 'Unfair', presented at Professional Education Systems Inc. (Feb. 7, 1992)
  • Depositions: Strategies, Tactics and Mechanics, presented at Professional Education Systems Inc. (Nov. 11, 1992)
  • Discovery, presented at Colorado Defense Lawyers Association (Aug. 27, 1994)
  • Winning by Disqualifying Plaintiff's Experts, presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms (Oct. 25, 2001)
  • Challenging the Admissibility of Medical Causation Opinion Derived From 'Differential Diagnosis - Application of Daubert and Amended FRE 702', presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms (Oct. 26, 2001)
  • Ethics and Professionalism in Client Relations, presented at University of Denver Law School (Nov. 12, 2001)
  • Behold the Future: Emerging Areas Including Mold, Cellular Phones, MTBE, Chromium 6, and More, presented at The Future of Mass Tort Litigation in America (Mar. 23, 2002)
  • Non-Liability to Non-Participants: A Manufacturer's Duty Should End at the Playing Field, and Not Extend to Criminal Acts, Mealey's Prod. Liab. & Risk, Aug. 29, 2002
  • Colorado Civil Justice League Legislative Panel, presented in conjunction with the American Tort Reform Association Annual Legislative Conference for State Coalition Leaders and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (Nov. 14, 2002)
  • Campbell v. State Farm, presented at The Network of Trial Law Firms' Meeting (Apr. 2003)
  • Punitive Damages, presented at 27th Annual Conference of Colorado Defense Lawyers Association (Aug. 20, 2004)
  • Managing Product Liability in the Americas, quoted in Financier Worldwide (Sept. 2009)
  • Preventing Legal Malpractice, Potential Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them, Colorado Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Seminar (Multiple dates 2009-2013)
  • Leadership, University of Colorado at Denver MBA Program (Dec. 1, 2009)
  • Leadership and Strategic Management, presented to University of Colorado MBA Students (Dec. 1, 2009)
  • Deposition Strategy 101, Colorado Defense Lawyers Association CLE Seminar (Dec. 4, 2009)
  • Strategic Management, University of Colorado at Denver MBA Program (Feb. 2010)
  • Settlement Negotiation Strategies, Continuing Legal Education Seminar (May 2010)
  • Ethics CLE: Avoiding Malpractice, University of Denver Alumni Weekend (Oct. 14, 2010)
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Successor Liability, presented to CNA (Feb. 10, 2011)
  • Negotiation, presented to MBA students at McGill University (Oct. 12, 2011)
  • Unique Issues in Mass Torts, presented at University of Denver Sturm College of Law (Nov. 7, 2011)
  • The Trial of a Legal Malpractice Case, presented at the Aon Law Firm Symposium (Oct. 12, 2012)
  • Avoiding Missteps in Handling Litigation and Other Disputes, presented to the Association of Corporate Counsel Colorado Chapter (Dec. 5, 2012)
  • University of Colorado at Denver, MBA Program, Guest Lecturer
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Guest Lecturer
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Lecturer
  • BAR-BRI Course on Professional Responsibility, Lecturer
  • Numerous CLE Presentations

Verdicts and Settlements:

  • Vastano v. AT&T Wireless Class Action - Defended AT&T Wireless in a nationwide class action in Colorado state court involving the billing of wireless air time.
  • Moore v. Bertuzzi, The Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club et al. - Represented the Vancouver Canucks hockey club and former head coach in a lawsuit brought by a Colorado Avalanche player as a result of injuries sustained during a hockey game.
  • Secured a ruling from a California appeals court affirming the preemption of claims brought against WTO's client Guidant for its abdominal stent medical device.
  • Obtained dismissal of RICO and conspiracy claims brought against a prominent east coast law firm and one of its partners in U.S.D.C. for the Western District of Missouri.
  • Obtained summary judgment from a Texas district court in a case alleging WTO's client, a life insurance company, committed fraud and violated consumer protection laws.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company as national trial counsel for hundreds of product liability claims and lawsuits involving a Class II medical device used to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms.
  • Represent lawyers and law firms throughout the United States in defending legal malpractice claims.
  • Represent a medical device company as national coordinating and trial counsel for the defense of product liability lawsuits involving a Class III medical device used to treat hearing loss.
  • Represent a Fortune 5 company as national resolution counsel in hundreds of cases involving a medical imaging contrast agent alleged to induce a rare disease.

Representative Clients:

  • Michelin North America, Inc. - Regional Trial Counsel
  • Level 3 Communications
  • Fresenius - National Counsel
  • Dish Network
  • Denver International Airport
  • City of Denver
  • Pfizer - National Counsel
  • Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance
  • General Electric - National Resolution Counsel; National Trial Counsel
  • PepsiCo
  • Lawyers and Law Firms
  • High net-worth individuals
  • Guidant - National Trial Counsel
  • Crown Equipment
  • CoorsTek
  • Boston Scientific - National Trial Counsel
  • Advanced Bionics - National Trial Counsel

Educational Background:

  • University of Notre Dame, B.A. in English, 1976

Industry Groups

  • Asbestos
  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
  • Legal Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Medical Devices
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Professional Services
  • Real Estate
  • Telecommunications
  • Find Me Online
    Office Location for Michael L. O'Donnell

    370 Seventeenth Street
    Suite 4500
    Denver, CO 80202

    Phone: 303-244-1850

     

    Michael L. O'Donnell:

    Last Updated: 10/11/2016

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